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  • The Fringe Cabaret: Back to School Special

    Buy tickets The Fringe Festival has an addictive quality. Patrons gorge on theatre and artists riff off each...
  • Workshop: Shadow Puppetry with Mind of a Snail

    Buy tickets Are you a theatre artist who has played with the idea of integrating shadow puppetry into your...
  • Workshop: Your Story. Your Voice. New to Storytelling

    Buy tickets Deborah Williams,  co-creator of the international hit Mom’s the Word trilogy,  co-founder of ...
  • Workshop: How to Puppeteer Anything: Object Puppetry Masterclass with Ingrid Hansen from SNAFU

    Buy tickets Ingrid Hansen is a lead puppeteer on the television series Tiga Talk! on APTN and was recently...
  • Workshop: Your Story. Your Voice. Experienced Storytellers

    Buy tickets Deborah Williams,  co-creator of the international hit Mom’s the Word trilogy,  co-founder of ...
  • Workshop: Deaf Inclusion in Theatre

    Buy tickets Are you an arts organization or arts manager looking to find best practices for including d/Deaf...
  • Falling Awake

    Buy tickets RAGMOP Theatre presents Falling Awake, a surrealist physical comedy with mesmerizing illusions,...
  • The Fringe Cabaret October

    Buy tickets The Fringe Festival has an addictive quality. Patrons gorge on theatre and artists riff off each...
  • Mockingjay: The Musical - A Hunger Games Musical

    Buy tickets District 13 PresentsGood things come in threes... even angst filled dystopian musicals with kicky...

Time to Play, Love, Celebrate

March 21, 2016

When a catastrophic disaster floods the world in tea, caffeine connoisseurs James and Jamesy leap into action! See what happens, April 12-17. Photo by Thaddeus Hink. Theatre Vancouver

When a catastrophic disaster floods the world in tea, caffeine connoisseurs James and Jamesy leap into action! See what happens, April 12-17. Photo by Thaddeus Hink.

James & Jamesy Invite You to Play at High Tea

High Tea is on at Studio 1398, April 12-17

You wouldn’t expect that the men behind James & Jamesy used to create visual effects for film or hold a business degree, but until Aaron Malkin and Alastair Knowles took on performance full time, that’s just what they did.

Aaron, a.k.a. James, worked long hard hours in front of a computer creating visual effects, but he didn’t like it all that much. He wanted to do something different. He was also a swing dancer and was asked to take part in the Dusty Flowerpot Cabaret’s Hard Times Hit Parade (along with Alastair) in 2011. He didn’t have a lot of performance experience and while preparing for the show, Aaron was encouraged to take clown training.

“I discovered that I had repressed so much,” Aaron says of his first experiences clowning. “It allowed for a big emotional expression. And I’ve never looked back. I just wanted to do it more and more!”

Following their studies with David MacMurray Smith, Aaron and Alastair joined other graduates and formed the clown troupe Poupon Parade to delve deeper into the work. During one exercise, each performer had to switch characters rapidly until the remaining group selected one that they were excited to see on stage. Alastair flipped thorough characters and when he presented a quirky and lanky Brit whose embellishments to each movement added an absurdist flare, the group cried out “That one!”

When Aaron went to the front of the group however, none of his overly physical characters were getting a response. Feeling defeated, he took himself out of the game for a moment. He gently stood there, clearly showing a desire for approval, and the group selected this straight man character, taking him completely by surprise.

The two paired up and were tasked with creating an improvised scene with these new characters. Already having established British accents, it was only logical that a tea party would follow—and James & Jamesy were born. The duo extended their creation for a piece in Poupon Parade’s cabaret show, held at the ANZA Club, but they didn’t want it to end there.

“As an artist, the best way to hang out with people you love is to work with them on a creative project—because then hanging out becomes compulsory.” Alastair says, hence the pair working together and taking James & Jamesy on the Fringe circuit, where they received rave reviews.

The duo uses their clown training both on and off stage. “We play with accents and extended characters in day to day life and in the rehearsal setting,” Alastair explains. “British accents seem to be a staple of that exploration… it’s fun to play with the ‘properness’ of Brits and it’s our favourite way to engage with potential audience members when flyering at Fringe Festivals.” While using his accent, Alastair met his partner in Montreal—and a whole year passed before she realized he wasn’t actually British!

“We’re not trying to pull a fast one,” Aaron elaborates, going on to explain that they were inspired by Die Roten Punkte, who they believed were German until learning that the comedians are actually Australian. “They are being so audacious and it pumped us up to do it too!”

“Audiences like how we straddle that absurdity on and off stage,” Alastair explained. And they want to have fun with their audiences. “Everyone can be on board like a child. Each performance is an opportunity to play with an audience. It’s a shared experience.”

Leave your inhibitions behind and play with James & Jamesy at High Tea, April 12-17 at Studio 1398. Get your tickets at TheatreWire.com.

Hot Copy: a Publicity Workshop for Fringe Artists and Creative Types

“How do I get the media to cover my show?”
“How do I write a press release?”
“If I only spend money on one publicity tactic, what should it be?”

Deb Pickman will tell you all you need to know about self-promotion (with a Fringe focus) at Hot Copy on May Publicity Workshop theatre

Deb Pickman will tell you all you need to know about self-promotion (with a Fringe focus) at Hot Copy on May 3 at the Big Rock Urban Brewery.

These questions and more will be answered by Deb Pickman at Hot Copy: a Publicity Workshop for Fringe Artists and Creative Types on Tuesday, May 3 at the Big Rock Urban Brewery & Eatery Boardroom from 7-9:00pm.

Following the workshop, you’re invited to stay for networking with your fellow artists, as well as Deb in the Lounge—where it’ll be Happy Hour and you can get $10 pizzas and beverages starting at just $3!

Deb is a Fringe veteran who co-created, performed in, and publicized noted and notorious Festival hits for over a decade before going on to become a specialist in publicizing the arts. In addition to being the Communications and Marketing Manager for the Arts & Culture District at UBC, Deb is co-artistic director and ensemble member of the Vancouver theatre company shameless hussy productions.

This workshop is free for artists participating in the 2016 Vancouver Fringe Festival and $10 for everyone else. Please RSVP to publicity[at]vancouverfringe.com as space is limited. Unfortunately the Boardroom is not wheelchair accessible, however the Lounge is.

Happy World Theatre Day!

Ever since its inception in 1961, theatre lovers around the world celebrate World Theatre Day on March 27! The International Theatre Institute (ITI), which created World Theatre Day, is an NGO tied to UNESCO and was officially inaugurated during the meeting of its first World Congress in Prague, 1948. The ITI’s main objectives are “to promote international exchange of knowledge and practice in the domain of the performing arts” and “to stimulate creation and increase cooperation among theatre people.”

Anatoli Vassiliev is a Russian stage director who wrote this year's World Theatre Day message.

Anatoli Vassiliev is a Russian stage director who wrote this year’s World Theatre Day message.

Many organizations put on special events and a special message is created by a well known theatre maker. This year’s message comes from the Russian stage director Anatoli Vassiliev. Part of his message says:

Theatre can tell us everything.
How the gods dwell in heaven, and how prisoners languish in forgotten caves underground, and how passion can elevate us, and how love can ruin, and how no one needs a good person in this world, and how deception reigns, and how people live in apartments, while children wither in refugee camps, and how they all have to return back to the desert, and how day after day we are forced to part with our beloveds—theatre can tell everything.

Anatoli isn’t the only one who’s created a message for World Theatre Day. There’s also a Canadian World Theatre Day message, this time written by Sky Gilbert, the co-founder and Artistic Director of Buddies in Bad Times for 18 years. Sky’s message points out how attending live theatre is different than going to a movie or watching stuff online. He says:

Then, out of panic, you find yourself thinking about the play. You realize that it not only made you think—it made you feel, too. And then you realize it made you… gosh… you don’t know what’s going on! There’s a tingle running up your spine. And it’s very odd… as if… as if… as if you are thinking and feeling at the same time!

If theatre can tell us everything and make us think and feel at the same time—that is certainly a source of world knowledge.

How are you celebrating World Theatre Day?

Jimmy sent out some Valentines to some special Fringe Lovers! Did you get a card?

Jimmy sent out some Valentines to some special Fringe Lovers! Did you get a card?

Real Mail and Real Love

Red paper hearts and glittery love made their way into the mailboxes of a special group of Fringe Lovers this past Valentines. The Fringe totally has a crush on these people who make the Festival possible in a substantial way. They invest in the Festival with their donations to ensure that it continues with its mission to cultivate artists and audiences to create an open and vibrant independent theatre community. They hold a very special place in all of our hearts.

This year Fringe Lovers covered the basic costs of over 70% of Mainstage performances—more than ever before! We want to thank them, and all the people who contribute to making the Fringe possible: volunteers, artists, billet hosts, and each one of you who introduces someone new to the Festival each year. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

Are you sad you missed out on getting real mail in your mailbox? Do you love the Festival and want to make sure it keeps creating opportunities for emerging artists? You can help build the Fringe community into something strong and long-lasting right now… AND become a Fringe hero, too! And keep an eye out for our annual fundraising campaign, Spring for the Fringe, this May! We love you guys!

Motorino’s Back for Another Amazing Raffle!

Is this the Motorino electric bike you'd like to win in the 2016 Fringe Raffle? Tell us! Email gareth[at]vancouverfringe[dot]com.

Is this the Motorino electric bike you’d like to win in the 2016 Fringe Raffle? Tell us! Email gareth[at]vancouverfringe[dot]com.

Don’t you wish you won that electric scooter in last year’s Raffle?… or maybe you had your eye on that electric bicycle? Ok, if you’re like many, you wanted BOTH!

Having supported the Raffle since its start, few companies are as important to the fundraising that drives your Festival as Motorino. Returning for another year, Motorino is rolling out brand new electric scooters and bikes just in time for Spring!

We thought it’d be fun to ask YOU which model or models (new or old) you’d like to see in this year’s Raffle. Let us know the model numbers of your choice or choices by email and you can win two tickets to the 2016 Festival!

The Theatre Scene

Just a taste of what Vancouver has to offer in the way of Theatre

2014 Fringe hit, Dirty Old Woman, is on at The Cultch, thanks to their Cultchivating the Fringe Award. Theatre Vancouver

2014 Fringe hit, Dirty Old Woman, is on at The Cultch, thanks to their Cultchivating the Fringe Award.

Pull Festival 
March 24-26
Studio 1398
Seven plays, just 10 minutes each! Filled with familiar Fringe faces and names (Pippa Mackie, Melissa Oei, Sean Harris Oliver, Mack Gordon, Keara Barnes) and many other notable Vancouver theatre folks, make up the team presenting short plays that range from meeting a psycho party animal while on vacation, to a futuristic matriarchal society, to saving homeless heroes.

The Laramie Project 
March 29- April 3
Studio 1398
When Matthew Shepard was beaten and left to die outside of Laramie, Wyoming, the horror of the event woke the world to the abuse and bullying that existed in small, friendly towns, like Laramie. The writers of this play went to Laramie to interview inhabitants to try and understand the tragic events. They turned the interviews of the townsfolk into the Laramie Project.

Fools After Dark: A Saucy Puppet Cabaret 
April 1
Revue Stage
An adults only puppet show to announce the Vancouver International Puppet Festival! Warnings: Puppet Nudity, Language, Weirdness.

The Assembly Presents A Clown Cabaret 
April 2
Revue Stage
Lady clowns take the stage, including Fringe alumni Jessica Gabriel (of Mind of a Snail)!

Dirty Old Woman 
April 12-24
The Cultch Lab
Public Market Pick of the Fringe winner, Dirty Old Woman, also won the Cultchivating the Fringe Award in 2014, and it’s finally time for their run at The Cultch:
When Nina, a 50-something-year old, meets Gerry, 20 years her junior, the sparks fly in more ways than one. Judgments, double standards, and comedy ensue as Nina tries to navigate the dangerous world of dating a younger man.

Batman Beats Winter Blues

February 10, 2016

One-Man Dark Knight: A Batman Parody

Laughing at Epic Films One Trilogy at a Time

Charlie Ross' One-Man Dark Knight: A Batman Parody will be performed Feb. 18-21, but Charlie won't be wearing a mask. He doesn't need one to play every character from all three Dark Knight films.

Charlie Ross’ One-Man Dark Knight: A Batman Parody will be performed Feb. 18-21, but Charlie won’t be wearing a mask. He doesn’t need one to play every character from all three Dark Knight films.

When Charlie Ross created his One-Man Star Wars Trilogy, he was holding onto the same fandom as his eight-year-old self, who saw Star Wars: A New Hope approximately 400 times. For his One-Man Lord of the Rings, Charlie again was tapping into “the simplicity of childhood,” he wrote in a 2010 issue of Canadian Theatre Review. “JRR Tolkien’s books had greatly influenced my childhood … [and] when I saw the epic tale had been reborn as cinematic poetry [where] you could feel the love and passion for the source material,” he knew it was the next trilogy to tackle. But Charlie took longer to find a third trilogy to complete his own trilogy of trilogies.

After seeing Batman Begins and The Dark Knight and anticipating The Dark Knight Rises, Charlie thought he had his next creation set. But the shooting in a Colorado theatre at a midnight screening of The Dark Knight Rises marred his enthusiasm. “I’ve always had a childlike exuberance for the movie experience,” Charlie explains. “I had a hard time removing that experience from the movie. It was difficult to reconcile.”

Eventually Charlie was able to go back to the idea of condensing the three films into his trademark show style. “There’s less preciousness in this show than in Star Wars or Lord of the Rings for me,” Charlie says. “I’m having a lot more fun with this show than I thought I would. I love being a piss-ant. And I love working on something new.”

What isn’t new about Charlie’s process is working with TJ Dawe, who dramaturged this show as well as his others. The pair have known each other for more than 20 years. At university they were often paired in drama classes—and the origin of Charlie’s Star Wars commenced during a Frisbee game where they each had to quote lines from the classic films.

“We put our fun hats on to come up with something new and exciting,” Charlie says of One-Man Dark Knight: A Batman Parody. And while the Batman films aren’t as well known as Star Wars or Lord of the Rings, Charlie wants to “draw out the memory of experiencing the films.”

“I know people will need to be prompted more. I have to do more work to indicate what’s happening—and I don’t want it to be an inside joke between me and the people who know the films as much as I do,” Charlie says. “I want to make people laugh.”

While Charlie would love if his audiences see Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy in advance, he points out that with this series the most interesting aspect is the characters. “They’re flawed—especially the good ones. They make bad choices or act rashly and suffer for it … The characters all experience, and we witness, moments of doubt and/or failure and we get to understand more about them by how they choose to rise up.”

“And I’ve tried to make it as irreverent as possible,” Charlie laughs.

See One-Man Dark Knight: A Batman Parody February 18-21 at Waterfront Theatre on Granville Island as part of the Winterruption Festival. Tickets are available at TheatreWire.com

Want to save 20%? We’re having a Valentine’s Day sale! Buy your tickets before midnight on February 14 using promo code BATLOVE and tickets will be just $20! 

Fringe’s Executive Director Wins Forty Under 40!

On January 27, 40 of Vancouver’s young entrepreneurs and business leaders, along with their friends and colleagues, convened at the Fairmont Waterfront Hotel to celebrate their induction to Business in Vancouver’s annual Forty Under 40 Awards. Among them was the Fringe’s Executive Director, David Jordan.

David (giving the thumbs up), surrounding by Fringe Board members, at the Forty Under 40 gala.

David (giving the thumbs up), surrounding by Fringe Board members, at the Forty Under 40 gala.

“It was a real honour to have the Fringe and also arts and the non-profit sector recognized by the business community,” David says of his win. “The awards ceremony was a great opportunity to connect with other business leaders with whom I may not have crossed paths with otherwise. It’s so interesting to get a small window into what drives people to go to work every day. Hopefully we can develop connections that will go beyond the awards and work together to make Vancouver a better place to work and live!”

Since 1989, Business in Vancouver has been providing information and networking opportunities to businesses operating in and around Vancouver. 2015 marks the 26th year the publication has been celebrating young lawyers, CEOs and the like—who also go beyond business by contributing to their communities.

David was selected because of the Fringe’s success since he took charge in 2005—when the Fringe had a $100,000 deficit! Under his leadership, the Fringe has eliminated its deficit, doubled attendance, and quadrupled sponsorship revenues. But David gives a lot of credit to his team, which has also grown to now include seven year-round staff (when he started, it was just three people!).

Congratulations to David and all the Forty Under 40 winners! Read their stories here and check out this interview David did with Roundhouse Radio about his win.

Mortal Coil's Chix on Stix will be dancing around Granville Island during this year's Winterruption!

Mortal Coil’s Chix on Stix will be dancing around Granville Island during this year’s Winterruption!


Winterruption

Why wait till summer to enjoy an arts festival?

February is quickly turning into a month of festivals! Just For Laughs NorthWest, Talking Stick Festival, and Chutzpah! are all on in February! Joining them is Granville Island’s 11th annual Winterruption, February 19-21!

The Fringe and Theatre Wire will be part of this year’s Winterruption with Charlie Ross’ One-Man Dark Knight: A Batman Parody and there’s lots more to help you defeat winter down on Granville Island. There are interactive workshops where you can make your own art, including glassblowing and making snowflakes with the Federation of Canadian Artists. There’s plenty for kids too! They can make their own Maple Taffy, get their face painted, and enjoy street performances.

Then there’s the food. Meet the brewers and distillers that call Granville Island home, including our pals at The Liberty Distillery, a sustainable seafood walking tour presented by the David Suzuki Foundation, and you can eat some donuts made especially for Winterrruption!

See you there!

The Theatre Scene

Bright Blue Future is on till March 5 at Pacific Theatre.

Bright Blue Future is on till March 5 at Pacific Theatre.

Just a taste of what Vancouver has to offer in the way of Theatre

PostSecret: The Show 
February 17-March 5
Firehall Arts Centre
Back for an encore presentation, Fringe alumni, Kahlil Ashanti and TJ Dawe partnered with Justin Sudds and Frank Warren, the creator of the PostSecret blog, to devise this multimedia show made of personal secrets from anonymous people. This time round, fellow Fringe alumni, Sam Mullins is part of the cast! Use coupon code FRINGESTARS to get $5 off any ticket to performances from February 23-28!

Bright Blue Future 
February 19-March 5
Pacific Theatre
Written by Sean Harris Oliver, whose play, The Fighting Season, won the Georgia Straight’s Critics Choice Award and the Cultchivating the Fringe Award at the 2015 Vancouver Fringe, Bright Blue Future explores a substance-fueled evening in the lives of four 20-somethings navigating feelings of inadequacy, sexual tension, and fear of the impending future.

Wait Until Dark
March 1-12
Havana Theatre
Frederick Knott’s masterful thriller follows Susy Hendrix, a blind woman who finds herself wrapped up in a drug smuggling attempt gone awry. Each suspenseful moment builds in menace until the final terrifying, breath stopping scene.